Hampshire had found themselves behind the rate despite Tom Perst’s 76, and needed 78 of the last 10 overs on difficult ground, but they managed to get home
Southampton: Essex 257-8, Hampshire 260-7 – Hampshire won by three wickets
Hampshire once again showed their swagger as they chased down 257 to set up a home knockout tie while knocking the Essex Eagles out of the Royal London Cup.
Hampshire had fallen behind the rate despite Tom Perst’s 76 and demanded 78 of the last 10 overs on difficult ground.
But Toby Albert – who won the game 84 and 65 uneliminated against Derbyshire and Lancashire – continued his form with 34 from 26 balls before Felix Organ, Ian Holland and Scott Currie secured a three-wicket victory.
Hampshire, who were already through despite losing for the first time to Glamorgan in their previous game, will play a home semi-final if they beat Yorkshire at Scarborough on Tuesday, or a home play-off if they do. does not and Lancashire beats Kent. .
Hampshire found timing the ball a chore almost from the start of their chase as Nick Gubbins was brilliantly caught by Khushi in the fourth before Ben Brown was knocked down.
Aneurin Donald added some momentum with swept and driven sixes and Perst looked his more fluently during their 54-run partnership, however the required run rate had gradually dropped.
Donald was exhausted trying to push and run and Fletcha Middleton’s attempt to fight off the pace saw him soar.
Hampshire will have a home knockout tie in the Royal London Cup [Dave Vokes/Hampshire CCC]
Perst hit his third fifty of the competition on 73 balls before coming up long term, having been dropped twice in his innings of 76. Victory seemed a long way off.
But Albert’s flair in a vital 60-run partnership with Organ took Hampshire to 31 needed from 28. That was reduced to 12 needed when Organ was caught mid-wicket for 30.
That dozen were knocked out by Ian Holland and Scott Currie with 10 balls to spare and took Hampshire back to the top of Group B.
Essex had opted to strike and started with an unbridled scoreline with Feroze Khushi and Robin Das rushing to 44 from six overs, but a bowling change for Jack Campbell reversed the momentum.
The fast southpaw struck with his fifth delivery when he found an extra rebound for Khushi to get caught behind before looping Tom Westley at midwicket – the two wickets sandwiched by Das sending Ian Holland deep square to leave the ‘Essex 48 for 3.
Grant Roelofson, the Eagles’ top run-getter in the competition, lived a charmed life as he was dropped on 5, 8 and 29 before Albert finally snagged under a deep square steeplechase.
Nick Browne and Luc Benkenstein were also off by this point, with Essex 112 for 6, with Aron Nijjar following on the leg before Nick Gubbins’ leg spin.
But Shane Snater and Richards picked things up and made their way to an even score. Dutch international Snater caught the eye with a huge sweep, but it was his clever discovery of the gap that quickly racked up points.
His first format fifty came in 51 balls during a 96-point stand with Richards – who scored just one limit in his unbeaten 31. Snater was eventually caught from cover for 64 but Ben Allison hit two sixes to bring Essex to 257 for 8.
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